Book Review: "The Fruit of My Lipstick" by Shelley Adina
New Yorker Gillian Chang starts her second term at posh
She's falling hard for Lucas Hayes, who isn't even a senior yet and is already aiming at a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford. The problem is, she never seems to be able to measure up and be the girlfriend he wants. He's under a lot of pressure from his parents to achieve--maybe that's why he's short-tempered sometimes. But even a thick-skinned girl like Gillian can only take so much.
With her heart on the line, Gillian conceals more and more from her friends. So when she's accused of selling exam answer sheets, even her girlfriends, Lissa Mansfield and Carly Aragon, wonder if it can be true. Gillian will need the power of honesty--with herself and with Lucas--to show what she's really made of.
Once again, I had a blast reading the second book in the "It's All About Us" series. This is one of the most fun YA books I've read. Shelley Adina writes very well in a teen voice and really makes you feel like a bunch of 16-17 year olds are writing this book. It's a very fast read but so enjoyable that you'll want to reread it again (or at least get the other books in the series). This is one of the very few Christian fiction book that I have read that features an Asian American lead character. Especially one that is not an immigrant or an adoptee. I know it's a topic I always bring up with there's an AA character but it's something that needs to be the rule and not the exception. The book is great at showing how an Asian American tries to fit in between two cultures. You can see Gillian struggle to fit in the two worlds with her parents and with her life at school. Her mother reminded me very much of my own mother. I could practically hear my own mother's voice every time Gillian's mother appeared.
This book features a storyline that is very relevant with teen girls and dating. Abusive relationships need to be talked about to girls. They need to know that it's not always physical abuse that one needs to be on the lookout for. Verbal and emotional abuse need to be avoided as well. Lucas was a jerk. He started off being nice, but once he had Gillian wrapped around his finger, he just went off the deep end. It pained me to see him treat her like this and her either not noticing or just shrugging it off. Girls do NOT deserve that type of treatment, no matter what they've done! The scene that really got me was that he wanted to take her to Angel Island. For the majority of the readers of this book, this would have meant nothing of importance. However as a history major, I've studied about Angel Island and would have been horrified as a Chinese American if a guy I liked decided to take me there for a romantic date. This guy seriously had major issues and I was so happy with the ending of the book.
There is also a mystery involving a student selling exam answers to the popular kids. While I guessed who the perpetrator was, I was happy to read how things turned out. However I was NOT happy at how the school handled the situation with Gillian. Very unprofessional of them to condemn someone with all the required evidence. You'd think a boarding school wouldn't want bad publicity!
I really enjoyed this book and was sad to see it end. This whole series has been wonderful and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next addition. If you're a fan of Gossip Girl and want something a bit tamer, this book comes HIGHLY recommended.
The Fruit of My Lipstick by Shelley Adina is published by Faithwords (2008)